Part of my “Article of the Month” series in 2000
Yet again, another year’s finale mixes equal parts surprise to the ever repeating human drama. Just when we think things never really change, there’s a new twist on the commonplace.
Examples are in order.
Bill Gates finally had to answer for his bully business tactics. He’s anti-trust and the government’s pro-capital, but what are we? Ask the Shell Oil grandfathers and the Bell progenitors. This is all new to me.
Then there was the Elian Gonzolas fiasco. Pseudo-Communist supporters and pro-parental care advocates versus the free marketers and the centerpiece of course was a scared little boy/pawn who surely didn’t know what to think. In a situation that smacked of another ATF-lead Waco showdown, I’m not sure there was a winner.
Speaking of winners and losers, the millennial Olympiad was one to remember from Sydney, Australia. A variety of brave athletes performed on the stage of human drama. From lone swimmers in an empty pool where his fellow contestants were disqualified, to surrogate mountain bikers riding in their abducted brother’s stead.
The Dot.Coms continued to dismay investers as e-commerce began to plateau. Amazon.com is yet to net a profit and all those startups simply shut down. So was the internet marketplace just a pipe dream? Probably, as the death of the mail-order catalog should have forewarned, but that hasn’t stopped renovation of the info superhighway into a full-scale virtual shopping mall. Bottom line? It’s this kind of capitalism that makes the interface look so good, despite what the pornographers would have you believe.
Later, the tightest political race in decades divided the country, as mud was slung in both directions. Previously unused words reentered the common lexicon: “chad” graduated from a household name and “undervote” attempted to describe the always ambiguous “will of the (fickle) people.”
The winner? On paper, it was G. W. Bush and now his job will not only be to lead the country, but also to unite the dissenters. So Gore reinvented himself, and the Hollywood Left balked on expatriating. Oh they meant Paris, Texas, didn’t they?
Speaking of invention, Dean Kamen, the wonder neo-Edison, came up with a whole line of adult-sized scooters, promising to change the way we live. I, for one, sure hope there’s more to IT than that.
In other more important news, the world didn’t come to an end this year, much to the dismay of the doomsayers. And if nothing else, I think that’s worth celebrating.
It’s been an interesting one for the books. Till next year…